Environews: Aspen regeneration after fire
Baby aspen trees have sprouted in areas burned by the 71,673-acre human-caused Brian Head Fire of 2017. Aspens are a disturbance-dependent species that grows from existing roots after fire reduces shade from conifers. The quick return of aspens provides food and shelter for animals in burned areas.
Aspen groves don’t burn easily and make forests more fire resistant, but Western aspen forests have been in decline since a period of severe drought from 2000 to 2004.
Utah politicians have proposed unregulated salvage logging to prevent forest fires. However, machine disturbance associated with salvage logging reduces the rate of aspen regeneration.